The Judgement Of Venus

A poem by Matthew Prior

When Kneller's works, of various grace,
Were to fair Venus shown,
The Goddess spied in every face
Some features of her own.

Just so, (and pointing with her hand)
So shone, says she, my eyes,
When from two goddesses I gain'd
An apple for a prize.

When in the glass and river too
My face I lately view'd,
Such was I, if the glass be true,
If true the crystal flood.

In colours of this glorious kind
Apelles painted me;
My hair, thus flowing with the wind
Sprung from my native sea.

Like this disorder'd, wild, forlorn,
Big with ten thousand fears,
Thee, my Adonis, did I mourn
E'en beautiful in tears.

But viewing Myra placed apart,
I fear, says she, I fear,
Appelles, that Sir Godfrey's art
Has far surpass'd thine here:

Or I, a goddess of the skies,
By Mary am undone,
And must resign to her the prize,
The apple, which I won.

But soon as she had Myra seen,
Majestically fair,
The sparkling eye, the look serene,
The gay and easy air.

With fiery emulation fill'd
The wondering goddess cried,
Apelles must to Kneller yield,
Or Venus must to Hyde.

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